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New Left Review 53, September-October 2008


The turbulent beginning of the Fernández presidency marks the end of Kirchnerism in Argentina. Maristella Svampa surveys its record, noting ruptures and continuities—both rhetorical and substantial—with its predecessors in economic policy, social indicators and modes of rule.

MARISTELLA SVAMPA

THE END OF KIRCHNERISM

The first months of Cristina Fernández’s tenure as Argentinian president have shattered previous expectations of a smooth conjugal succession from her husband, Néstor Kirchner. After her landslide victory in October 2007—scoring 45 per cent to her nearest rival’s 23 to become the first woman to be elected leader of the country [1] The only previous female head of state, Maria Estela Martínez de Perón, was elected vice-president in 1973 as the running mate of her husband, Juan Perón; she became president on his death in 1974, and was then overthrown by military coup two years later.—it was widely assumed that Fernández would preside over business as usual, with no obvious shifts in policy. The reality has been more turbulent: the announcement in March 2008 of increased levies on agricultural exports sparked four months of protests that drew in not only large-scale agribusiness concerns and small to medium farmers, but also the middle classes in several major cities, who once again staged ‘cooking-pot’ demonstrations—cacerolazos—as they had during the crisis of 2001–02.

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